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Elizabeth Nelson's City Council Blog

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Response to Investigative Report Released December 2, 2021

On December 1, 2021, City Council approved the simultaneous release of multiple documents: complaints and corroborating documents filed by then HR Director Tom Guajardo and an investigative report into those complaints.


Legistar link to the December 1, 2021 Council Special Session:

https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=909128&GUID=0352EC35-CCD1-44E0-A814-3FB4327F47A2


The two complaints can be found here:

https://a2gov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=10316726&GUID=929396D3-35D8-4044-BE91-E4498E849886


https://a2gov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=10316718&GUID=1381D29D-2893-4974-B490-1A9E6AD30DC0


The investigative report can be found here:

https://a2gov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=10316725&GUID=0DFB3FA7-19C4-4C6F-B8D9-5EC4F8BDACD1



Prior to release of this report, I alerted the City Attorney’s office and the investigator that allegations in it were defamatory to me. Speculation in this report is factually wrong. Allegations and conclusions based on that speculation are illogical and inconsistent with facts that are known and undisputed.


The October complaint from Mr. Guajardo implicated two members of our City’s executive team, the only two City positions that are directly accountable to City Council: the City Administrator and the City Attorney. When this whistleblower communicated with all of Council (twice), pleading for immediate, temporary workplace protections, I wrote and sponsored a resolution to protect him. A majority of Council did not support those protections. These events are established in the public record. I wrote about it here:


https://www.a2elnel.com/post/directing-an-independent-investigation-of-the-acting-city-administrator


I met with the whistleblower shortly after that Council decision and before any investigation was underway. It was the first time I had ever met him outside of a public meeting. We discussed facts that were well within the public record. I did not meet with the whistleblower any further, either during or after the beginning of investigation. I shared all of this with the investigator when she questioned me.


It is well understood that City Council has ultimate authority over the positions that report directly to it: the City Administrator and the City Attorney. I wholly reject the idea that where a complaint directly implicates the City Attorney’s office, that same City Attorney’s office will dictate the terms of Council response. The blame shifting on display in this report should be alarming to anyone who values accountability within our local systems of power.


There is quite a lot of discussion left to happen on the topics of how this Council meets its responsibilities as elected public servants, how this City responds to whistleblowers, and how we address conflicts of interest. I welcome those conversations.